When submitting your thesis online, you can choose to apply a Creative Commons (CC) license to your work. This section explains what CC licenses are, how to choose and apply them to your thesis.
A Creative Commons license allows you, as a copyright holder, to give others permission to use and share your work online while still giving you credit.
Copyright and CC licenses are like siblings – related but with some important distinctions as CC licenses are built on top of copyright. CC licenses express very clearly: "I am the copyright owner, but you can do anything with my thesis (under these conditions)”
Copyright can protect your creativity and original ideas from uses you do not consent to. However, copyright can also be too restrictive. For example, if someone wants to use and share your thesis, they will need your permission first in most cases. This permission-seeking process can take up time and be a barrier to your intellectual output reaching a wider audience.
With CC licenses, you can refine the extent of your copyright to allow others to re-use your work, at anytime and anywhere. Your moral rights of attribution will remain and you can continue re-using, sharing and publishing your thesis.
A CC license lasts for as long as copyright for the work exists, the work will then belong to the public domain 50 years after the creator’s death in Canada (this will increase to 70 years to align with other jurisdictions by the end of 2022).
Every CC license has different components, according to the following four types of license elements, which include Attribution, ShareAlike, NonCommercial, and NoDerivatives. These work as specific attributes of Creative Common licenses and are shown below:
These elements can be used in six different ways to create the license combos that range from the most open (CC BY) to the most restrictive (CC BY-NC-ND):
Applying a CC license to your thesis is optional, so the choice is yours.
If you need help answering these questions and choosing a license, you can try the CC License Chooser quiz.
To apply a CC license to your thesis, indicate it in the following two places:
1. Select one of the 6 CC license types using the ProQuest ETD Administrator site when you submit your thesis.
Click on the “Creative Commons” tab on the side panel to see the full license descriptions and choose appropriately:
The CC license you choose will travel with your thesis when it is transferred to the U of T’s TSpace repository and will be displayed there. Here is an example of a thesis licensed under the CC BY license.
2. Add the CC license of your choice on the thesis title page, under the Copyright statement, e.g.:
© Copyright by Jane Ann Doe 2022
This work is licensed under Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International
Adding CC license information directly on the title page will ensure that readers are aware of the license even if your thesis is shared or saved locally.
You can use the CC License Chooser to generate the license statement and link for the thesis title page.
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